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Steam Opening the Gates

A new post on the Steam Blog discusses "Who Gets To Be On The Steam Store" in light of recent questions about Valve's policies regarding games that include adult content and controversial topics. It's a lengthy discussion of the issues involved and the history of their policies. They then announce that their new policy going forward is to allow all content "except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling." Here's their conclusion:

So what does this mean? It means that the Steam Store is going to contain something that you hate, and don't think should exist. Unless you don't have any opinions, that's guaranteed to happen. But you're also going to see something on the Store that you believe should be there, and some other people will hate it and want it not to exist.

It also means that the games we allow onto the Store will not be a reflection of Valve’s values, beyond a simple belief that you all have the right to create & consume the content you choose. The two points above apply to all of us at Valve as well. If you see something on Steam that you think should not exist, it's almost certain that someone at Valve is right there with you.

To be explicit about that - if we allow your game onto the Store, it does not mean we approve or agree with anything you're trying to say with it. If you're a developer of offensive games, this isn't us siding with you against all the people you're offending. There will be people throughout the Steam community who hate your games, and hope you fail to find an audience, and there will be people here at Valve who feel exactly the same way. However, offending someone shouldn't take away your game's voice. We believe you should be able to express yourself like everyone else, and to find others who want to play your game. But that's it.

In the short term, we won't be making significant changes to what's arriving on Steam until we've finished some of the tools we've described in this post. As we've hopefully managed to convey, navigating these issues is messy and complicated. Countries and societies change their laws and cultural norms over time. We'll be working on this for the foreseeable future, both in terms of what products we're allowing, what guidelines we communicate, and the tools we're providing to developers and players.

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65. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 13, 2018, 10:41 Verno
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jun 8, 2018, 06:29:
I've given up using the Steam Store because of how much dross there is. Finding quality titles is extremely difficult and the entire experience has become a chore. I remember being excited at each sale and constantly checking the Coming Soon tab but now I pretty much only get games on Steam from the Humble Bundle or via third-party websites like CDKeys.

Opening the floodgates is only going to further reduce quality. Steam should have two sections: Steam Prime and Steam Indie. And Steam Indie should still have quality control. Turning Steam into a libertarian wetdream only makes it a crappy experience for the majority of users.

Is this really a problem? The Steam curation for suggestions is very good and generally speaking I know what I'm looking for anyway. I can't say I ever spent a lot of time browsing the Steam Store even back when it was a little used platform. Between the curation, top charts and etc I think I'm pretty well covered for filtering. What I really want is better sales in terms of pricing but that's really up to the publishers/companies, not Valve.

I do like your suggestion for segregation but the trouble there is there isn't much separating mid tier publishers and indies anymore.
 
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64. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 8, 2018, 06:29 theyarecomingforyou
 
I've given up using the Steam Store because of how much dross there is. Finding quality titles is extremely difficult and the entire experience has become a chore. I remember being excited at each sale and constantly checking the Coming Soon tab but now I pretty much only get games on Steam from the Humble Bundle or via third-party websites like CDKeys.

Opening the floodgates is only going to further reduce quality. Steam should have two sections: Steam Prime and Steam Indie. And Steam Indie should still have quality control. Turning Steam into a libertarian wetdream only makes it a crappy experience for the majority of users.
 
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63. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 20:52 ventry
 
Squirmer wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 01:26:
ventry wrote on Jun 6, 2018, 20:06:
Squirmer wrote on Jun 6, 2018, 19:32:
Let's see how long this lasts when someone releases Pedophile Simulator 2018 and the media gets wind of it.

Reading comprehension fail: "Nothing Illegal"
Pedophilia IS Illegal!

Um, grand theft auto is a crime, but Grand Theft Auto is not illegal. A game about child abuse is not necessarily illegal either, and by Valve's new policy it would be totally fine to make that game and put it on Steam. If Valve wants to their service to be even more of a cesspit, that's up to them, but they'll need to face the consequences.

Fail again:
Stealing a car in a video game is NOT illegal here in Australia. However molesting a child in a video game IS.
I believe the same is true for the USA.
Give it up. You're wrong.
 
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62. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 19:31 YourNick
 
Does this affect censoring adult content (black bars)? No black bars shown with graphic violence, such as whacking someone's head off with a shovel.  
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61. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 14:40 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 13:01:
Valve should curate game based on quality, but not on content.

That would allow them to filter out 95% of the asset flippers.

Also, I agree getting rid of the trading card meta game would go far in reducing the crap.

Well I agree in theory, but you're still requiring Valve to devote some employees to filtering their games for quality, and I can picture dozens of desks rolling away from that job at Valve headquarters.

Also, yes, the trading cards on Steam are utterly pointless to people who actually play games for fun, and exist only to prey upon the OCD/gambling natures of people and make money for Valve.
 
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60. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 14:03 wrlwnd
 
jdreyer wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 05:29:
Jerykk wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 02:16:

I can pretty much guarantee that Valve will ban any games that simulate or encourage rape, pedophilia, child molestation, etc.

What about games that simulate or encourage killing and murder? They'll get rid of those too right? RIGHT?

Well, we all know rape is way worse than murder. It's okay to shoot people's heads off all day!
 
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59. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 13:01 jdreyer
 
Valve should curate game based on quality, but not on content.

That would allow them to filter out 95% of the asset flippers.

Also, I agree getting rid of the trading card meta game would go far in reducing the crap.
 
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58. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 12:33 jdreyer
 
007Bistromath wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 10:52:

That's Steam. GOG is pretty much the only meaningful competitor, and they're still spit in the ocean.

Origin.
 
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57. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 11:44 Beamer
 
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 11:22:
Watter wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 09:48:
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 08:09:
Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront.
That's the first argument against this move by steam that was persusasive and didn't make me roll my eyes.

I see two ways to look at it.

1) Steam is still the defacto marketplace for PC games. That's changing, thankfully, but it still owns the lion's share of the market. Any curation effort will be imperfect and games that some people might be interested in will be left out of that marketplace. I don't want anyone narrowing my choices. As long as there are filters, which is in Steams own best interest to provide, let it fly. I don't think anyone should be limiting other people's choices - and again, given steam's position as the defacto PC games marketplace, if it's not on Steam, it's almost not in the PC games market.

We all have a tendency to believe that the items we don't care about, nobody cares about. Example: Goat Simulator? What they hell?!? That almost certainly wouldn't have made it past my own personal curation process in its initial rough form, but some people enjoyed it and given time it became something that even more people picked up.

2) Do people really have trouble finding things they're interested in? I use steam a quite a bit, and I don't recall having to sift through crap to find interesting games. It isn't in Steam's best interest financially to make it hard for me to find games I'm interested in and purchase them; however if I do want to go on a hidden treasure hunt for something more obsucre, the option is there.

3) We live in a bigger (and smaller) world than ever before. It used to be that a niche interest might have too small a market to make sense to provide product for, but no more. A "niche" might be hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of people. Even if you believe in limiting options, which I don't, how do you curate when niches are so varied and large? .001% of the market these days is still large enough for some people to make product for.

----

I frequently see people buying products (crap, in my mind) that I literally cannot fathom ANYONE ever buying. I can either believe that these people are dumb and need someone smarter looking out for them OR I can accept that there might be some value in those things that I just don't see and that those people are different enough from me that they want something else that I can't understand. The "live and let live" side of me just shrugs and moves on. As long as I can find what I want, let those folks get their kicks where they want.



All of what you wrote is something I can either agree with or at the very least see the validity of. While an inconvenience, on a personal level having to skip past a dozen different iterations of "Achievement Hunter" or "Bitcoin Simulator" games slapped together in an hour on Steam's new release list admittedly isn't the end of the world. It also isn't my main focus as to why I argue in favor of curation on Steam. On a larger scale than personal convenience the saturation of garbage on Steam is detrimental to the independent and mid-tier developers to the point that it is actively hurting the industry overall. AAA games from big publishers always get a lot of exposure so it doesn't affect the Middle Earth's, the Civilization's, the Total War's, etc. But as someone who follows alot of content creators (largely on YouTube) with insider knowledge of the independent and mid tier developer scene the problems that Steam's lack of standards causes for them is obvious. Basically, devs have shared with such creators that an independent or mid tier game lives or dies based on how much exposure via purchase and word of mouth buzz generated in its first 5 to 7 days following release. This becomes a problem when Steam acknowledges that a game's sales drop off exponentially once it is relegated to the 2nd or 3rd page of the New Release section on its storefront, which given the amount of utter garbage that makes it onto that list by the hour can happen in less than a day. See the problem here? A game that a developer invested a huge portion of their available resources into can quickly become effectively invisible to the buying public once it is buried by the influx of crap. This can and reportedly has forced developers to give up on and leave the business. It has gotten to the point where only huge publishers and cynical cash-grabbing asset flipper developers find it financially viable to continue to release games on Steam because the former have huge coffers and the latter spends next to nothing doing what they do. This effectively eliminates a critical part (and I would argue the best part) of the games industry. That to me simply does not bode well for the long-term health of the PC market.

Steam has become like any mobile App store. It's a self-perpetuating cycle, where the top products keep selling, and everything else is shoveled to the bottom, unable to find an audience. As you mention, those spending no money on development see a return, since the cost is so low. And AAA devs with large marketing dollars get noticed because people already know about them and spearfish for them.

But something legitimately new, but without the marketing or PR power to build word of mouth, can't get traction.

It's one of two issues being discussed regarding whether or not Valve should curate. There's the content issue and the quality issue. Ultimately, I don't know how to break through on this one. Apple certainly hasn't figured it out. Google hasn't figured it out. I don't expect Valve to figure it out. It requires a lot more effort from gamers to find something cool and new, effort I'm not interested in putting in. When I used to shop at CompUSA, I could browse the entire games section in about 10 minutes, picking up tons of games. When I go to Steam, I avoid the Store page, and never, ever click on something I don't know about already, because there's a 5% chance of a good game and a 95% chance of garbage. It stops being worth your time to discover.
 
-------------
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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56. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 11:22 Prez
 
Watter wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 09:48:
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 08:09:
Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront.
That's the first argument against this move by steam that was persusasive and didn't make me roll my eyes.

I see two ways to look at it.

1) Steam is still the defacto marketplace for PC games. That's changing, thankfully, but it still owns the lion's share of the market. Any curation effort will be imperfect and games that some people might be interested in will be left out of that marketplace. I don't want anyone narrowing my choices. As long as there are filters, which is in Steams own best interest to provide, let it fly. I don't think anyone should be limiting other people's choices - and again, given steam's position as the defacto PC games marketplace, if it's not on Steam, it's almost not in the PC games market.

We all have a tendency to believe that the items we don't care about, nobody cares about. Example: Goat Simulator? What they hell?!? That almost certainly wouldn't have made it past my own personal curation process in its initial rough form, but some people enjoyed it and given time it became something that even more people picked up.

2) Do people really have trouble finding things they're interested in? I use steam a quite a bit, and I don't recall having to sift through crap to find interesting games. It isn't in Steam's best interest financially to make it hard for me to find games I'm interested in and purchase them; however if I do want to go on a hidden treasure hunt for something more obsucre, the option is there.

3) We live in a bigger (and smaller) world than ever before. It used to be that a niche interest might have too small a market to make sense to provide product for, but no more. A "niche" might be hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of people. Even if you believe in limiting options, which I don't, how do you curate when niches are so varied and large? .001% of the market these days is still large enough for some people to make product for.

----

I frequently see people buying products (crap, in my mind) that I literally cannot fathom ANYONE ever buying. I can either believe that these people are dumb and need someone smarter looking out for them OR I can accept that there might be some value in those things that I just don't see and that those people are different enough from me that they want something else that I can't understand. The "live and let live" side of me just shrugs and moves on. As long as I can find what I want, let those folks get their kicks where they want.



All of what you wrote is something I can either agree with or at the very least see the validity of. While an inconvenience, on a personal level having to skip past a dozen different iterations of "Achievement Hunter" or "Bitcoin Simulator" games slapped together in an hour on Steam's new release list admittedly isn't the end of the world. It also isn't my main focus as to why I argue in favor of curation on Steam. On a larger scale than personal convenience the saturation of garbage on Steam is detrimental to the independent and mid-tier developers to the point that it is actively hurting the industry overall. AAA games from big publishers always get a lot of exposure so it doesn't affect the Middle Earth's, the Civilization's, the Total War's, etc. But as someone who follows alot of content creators (largely on YouTube) with insider knowledge of the independent and mid tier developer scene the problems that Steam's lack of standards causes for them is obvious. Basically, devs have shared with such creators that an independent or mid tier game lives or dies based on how much exposure via purchase and word of mouth buzz generated in its first 5 to 7 days following release. This becomes a problem when Steam acknowledges that a game's sales drop off exponentially once it is relegated to the 2nd or 3rd page of the New Release section on its storefront, which given the amount of utter garbage that makes it onto that list by the hour can happen in less than a day. See the problem here? A game that a developer invested a huge portion of their available resources into can quickly become effectively invisible to the buying public once it is buried by the influx of crap. This can and reportedly has forced developers to give up on and leave the business. It has gotten to the point where only huge publishers and cynical cash-grabbing asset flipper developers find it financially viable to continue to release games on Steam because the former have huge coffers and the latter spends next to nothing doing what they do. This effectively eliminates a critical part (and I would argue the best part) of the games industry. That to me simply does not bode well for the long-term health of the PC market.

This comment was edited on Jun 7, 2018, 11:38.
 
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55. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 11:04 Beamer
 
007Bistromath wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 10:52:
Beamer wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 10:10:
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 08:09:
Opinions on whether Steam's inundation of valueless garbage to the point of over-saturation is a problem or irrelevant aside, this narrative that Steam would be "determining for you what you may consume" by having curation is a strawman argument based on fallacy. Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront. The distinction is so obvious that I would argue that you would have to be willfully ignorant not to see it.

Wow. Perfectly said. Probably the best said I've seen this argument, and I've seen it a ton over the past 4 years, since whether a store chooses to sell a game became akin to "censoring the developers freedom of speech" to many people.
Whether it's censorship or not is essentially down to whether you're talking about "a store" or "the store." Mainstream retail outlets all behave as a bloc except for their occasional price wars. There's next to nothing you can get at Target that you can't get at Wal-Mart and vice versa. If they don't have something, most people will never be aware it exists.

That's Steam. GOG is pretty much the only meaningful competitor, and they're still spit in the ocean.

Someone can create their own e-commerce store. They can put it on DVDs and sell it. They can mail flash drives to buyers. They can give it away for free.

Their right to say something has not been destroyed. What has been is their right to have someone else sell it, but such a right does not exist. Regardless of what Valve is trying to do here, a store selling something does mean the store vouches for it to many, many consumers. That's not worthwhile in most cases.
 
-------------
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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54. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 10:52 007Bistromath
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 10:10:
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 08:09:
Opinions on whether Steam's inundation of valueless garbage to the point of over-saturation is a problem or irrelevant aside, this narrative that Steam would be "determining for you what you may consume" by having curation is a strawman argument based on fallacy. Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront. The distinction is so obvious that I would argue that you would have to be willfully ignorant not to see it.

Wow. Perfectly said. Probably the best said I've seen this argument, and I've seen it a ton over the past 4 years, since whether a store chooses to sell a game became akin to "censoring the developers freedom of speech" to many people.
Whether it's censorship or not is essentially down to whether you're talking about "a store" or "the store." Mainstream retail outlets all behave as a bloc except for their occasional price wars. There's next to nothing you can get at Target that you can't get at Wal-Mart and vice versa. If they don't have something, most people will never be aware it exists.

That's Steam. GOG is pretty much the only meaningful competitor, and they're still spit in the ocean.
 
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53. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 10:49 Zanderat1
 
What could possibly go wrong?  
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52. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 10:10 Beamer
 
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 08:09:
Opinions on whether Steam's inundation of valueless garbage to the point of over-saturation is a problem or irrelevant aside, this narrative that Steam would be "determining for you what you may consume" by having curation is a strawman argument based on fallacy. Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront. The distinction is so obvious that I would argue that you would have to be willfully ignorant not to see it.

Wow. Perfectly said. Probably the best said I've seen this argument, and I've seen it a ton over the past 4 years, since whether a store chooses to sell a game became akin to "censoring the developers freedom of speech" to many people.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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51. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 09:48 Watter
 
Prez wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 08:09:
Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront.
That's the first argument against this move by steam that was persusasive and didn't make me roll my eyes.

I see two ways to look at it.

1) Steam is still the defacto marketplace for PC games. That's changing, thankfully, but it still owns the lion's share of the market. Any curation effort will be imperfect and games that some people might be interested in will be left out of that marketplace. I don't want anyone narrowing my choices. As long as there are filters, which is in Steams own best interest to provide, let it fly. I don't think anyone should be limiting other people's choices - and again, given steam's position as the defacto PC games marketplace, if it's not on Steam, it's almost not in the PC games market.

We all have a tendency to believe that the items we don't care about, nobody cares about. Example: Goat Simulator? What they hell?!? That almost certainly wouldn't have made it past my own personal curation process in its initial rough form, but some people enjoyed it and given time it became something that even more people picked up.

2) Do people really have trouble finding things they're interested in? I use steam a quite a bit, and I don't recall having to sift through crap to find interesting games. It isn't in Steam's best interest financially to make it hard for me to find games I'm interested in and purchase them; however if I do want to go on a hidden treasure hunt for something more obsucre, the option is there.

3) We live in a bigger (and smaller) world than ever before. It used to be that a niche interest might have too small a market to make sense to provide product for, but no more. A "niche" might be hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of people. Even if you believe in limiting options, which I don't, how do you curate when niches are so varied and large? .001% of the market these days is still large enough for some people to make product for.

----

I frequently see people buying products (crap, in my mind) that I literally cannot fathom ANYONE ever buying. I can either believe that these people are dumb and need someone smarter looking out for them OR I can accept that there might be some value in those things that I just don't see and that those people are different enough from me that they want something else that I can't understand. The "live and let live" side of me just shrugs and moves on. As long as I can find what I want, let those folks get their kicks where they want.


 
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50. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 09:26 necrosis
 
Sepharo wrote on Jun 6, 2018, 22:16:
Never was a store browser, neither brick-and-mortar nor digital...
I find it to be a really bizarre way to purchase something.
I second this.

I have never found myself just looking through shit on steam. I know what I want, go right to it and perhaps buy it.
 
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49. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 08:09 Prez
 
Opinions on whether Steam's inundation of valueless garbage to the point of over-saturation is a problem or irrelevant aside, this narrative that Steam would be "determining for you what you may consume" by having curation is a strawman argument based on fallacy. Steam does not have the power to determine that you can or can't purchase something nor should it. It has the power (and obligation in my view) soley to determine what it does and doesn't sell on its own storefront. The distinction is so obvious that I would argue that you would have to be willfully ignorant not to see it.

This comment was edited on Jun 7, 2018, 08:55.
 
Avatar 17185
 
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48. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 07:59 HoSpanky
 
KataSteel wrote on Jun 6, 2018, 21:42:
Well if you don't use the assets you buy what good are they?

I have been working on my game about 4 years. It is a solo project and I love to do it.
I'm a coder not an artist.
How would you expect me to get the artwork, models, animations, etc if not to get them from purchased assets?

Some people just don't think.

If your game is a solid piece of work, using store assets won’t really be an issue. One of my favorite VR games (and a highly rated one) is mostly store assets (Vanishing Realms). The difference is the coding involved makes it into a compelling game. Asset flips are barely games, they use example code meant to show new coders how basic functions work, toss in some store assets and drop out a new turd like that within a week.

What YOU are doing isn’t asset-flipping.
 
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47. Re: Steam Opening the Gates Jun 7, 2018, 05:29 jdreyer
 
Jerykk wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 02:16:

I can pretty much guarantee that Valve will ban any games that simulate or encourage rape, pedophilia, child molestation, etc.

What about games that simulate or encourage killing and murder? They'll get rid of those too right? RIGHT?
 
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46. Re: No Man's Sky NEXT Adds Multiplayer in July Jun 7, 2018, 04:51 CJ_Parker
 
007Bistromath wrote on Jun 7, 2018, 02:19:
CJ_Parker wrote on Jun 6, 2018, 22:29:
Oh yeah? So you are telling me they had 50 aisles full of old games? Really?
You are somebody who doesn't really remember the 90s very well.

In the 90s, one of the main ways to find out about new games you might actually want was to look in a bargain bin somewhere and get a CD that said OVER 500 GAMES!!! on it.

Like 20 of those might be shareware games worth playing.

Then you never got registered versions because your parents were broke. :V

I remember all of that very well.

The original point was something completely different. The guy I was originally responding to said that retail stores with lots of shit games and Steam with lots of shit games on it is the same thing.

That's a bullshit comparison for many reasons but primarily because retail stores have always had limited space, limited stock, they cleaned up on a regular basis and sent leftover stock to those publishers who had a return policy and it was also much easier to identify stuff just by where it was.

Current (up to a few months old) releases in big boxes on display were only about two aisles. Then you had some extra displays, stacks, racks or boxes with discounted games, tons of shovelware, jewel cases (your 500 games collections) and so on.

However, you instinctively knew where to look if you were ready to buy either a full price game or a budget title.
But even if you didn't know but were ready for an impulse buy then you had to maybe sift through, what, two hundred or so games? Make it three hundred or four hundred if you wish, it doesn't matter since it pales in comparison to a digital store like Steam with its 20K+ games (according to SteamSpy).

Steam is totally different. It has all those thousands upon thousands of games while the inventory keeps growing and growing on a daily basis.
Cutter pretty much nailed it. If you want to compare it to retail then Steam is like a huge very unorganized, stuffed, cramped warehouse with a few well organized aisles and displays (the AAA stuff) and the rest is like a garbage dump where the delivery trucks just dumped the "boxes" into a random location but no one ever bothered putting them on shelves or on display.
 
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